Is Cybersecurity One Word or Two?

Is Cybersecurity One Word Or Two?

Cyber attacks and cyber attackers figure in mainstream news nearly every day. With this level of exposure, it starts to matter whether you know how to spell things. When it comes to cybersecurity, the answer is that it’s one word, even though other, related terms—like the ‘cyber attacks’ above—are still two words.

Having been a professional writer and editor my entire life, plus a security news editor for twenty of those years, the question of how to spell this has long been on my mind.

Early on, back in the late 1990s, the answer, at least among professionals in the field, was easy: don’t use that word. We preferred “computer security” or “information security.” Occasionally, assuming it really had something to do with the web, it was acceptable to use ‘web security.’

But the field was a lot smaller then. Less attention was paid.

By now, the field is booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says positions for cybersecurity analysts will grow at 32% over the next several years—this compared to an average economy wide job growth rate of 5% (these figures are pre-pandemic, so we’ll see).

WordPress Cybersecurity: It’s a Thing

Nowadays, with PeakZebra, the questions I get are largely about whether WordPress is secure. The short answer is: yes, it’s secure. The longer, more-accurate answer is that it’s really easy to make it horribly insecure. And it’s easy to do that without even realizing it.

The thing is, this is true of lots of other ways that people build websites and web applications. The real trick is knowing what it takes to achieve some decent degree of cybersecurity in your own environment.

In WordPress, the two cardinal rules are:

  1. Keep your WordPress site up to date. Set both your core WordPress install and your plugins and themes to update automatically.
  2. Be careful about which plugins and themes you install. Use popular ones with thousands of installations when possible. Otherwise, make sure you know who created the plugin, whether there are reasons you can feel confident they know how to write secure plugins, and so on. It’s not as hard as it might sound, really.

Cybersecurity? it’s one word or two. Really.

Though there are still plenty of places that prefer “cyber security,” it does seem like there’s increasing convergence on “cybersecurity,” at least among vendors and professional organizations within the space. On the other hand, there are more Google searches each month for “cyber security” than there are searches for “cybersecurity.”

My own view is to use the one-word option. It is, after all, a single (broad) concept. And “cyber” has historically been used as a prefix—consider one of the earliest modern uses, the word “cybernaut.”

There’s no particular reason my preference should matter to you, so rest easy in the knowledge that, for now at least, either way is ok. Just be consistent, though, yeah?